AUBURN HILLS, MICH.—Since it hasn’t even been a full year since Derrick Rose had surgery to repair his torn left ACL, logic would dictate that there’s still a chance he could suit up this season, as he hasn’t yet exceeded the eight-to-12 month recovery timetable prescribed by his surgeon, Bulls physician Dr. Brian Cole.
Well, maybe a growing number of observers would disagree with that sentiment, but the former league MVP refuses to rule out the possibility that he could play at some point in the 2012-13 campaign, even if his return occurs in the upcoming playoffs, which is only seven games away for the Bulls heading into Sunday evening’s tilt with the Pistons at the Palace at Auburn Hills.
“I’m going to keep it open,” Rose said before the Bulls’ morning shootaround at Detroit Country Day School. “I’m not trying to think about that right now. I’m just trying to get better. I’m just trying to help my teammates, give them confidence to go out there and play hard, and just be a great teammate for right now. I will play whenever I’m ready to play. Who knows when I’m going to be ready to, but for right now, all I can do is cheer on my teammates.”
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Rose also refuted the theory that if and when he returns, his preference is to come back playing heavy minutes in hopes of retaining his status as one of the game’s elite players, rather than easing his way back in a limited-minutes scenario.
“I wouldn’t mind [playing limited minutes] at all,” he said. “Of course I want to play more [minutes], but it’s not that big. I’m going to play whenever I’m ready; I don’t care if it’s 15 [minutes per game] or 40. I just love the game too much. I’m just waiting, just praying about it and hopefully I’ll be out there soon.”
While his ongoing recovery certainly hasn’t been all peaches and cream, Rose did acknowledge that being away from the game has made him even more studious and if he doesn’t see game action this season, it will only give him more time to continue to reach and ideally exceed his previous form.
“It’s been helping me out a lot. The game, I definitely think, is going to slow down for me. Just watching the game enough, seeing all the coaches. It’s been a lot of coaches that’s moving or thinking about taking jobs other places, but they usually run the same system that they’ve been running the whole time that they’re in the NBA, so looking at all their tendencies with the new teams that they’re on and the teams that they’ve been coaching is definitely going to help me with the play calls when I come back, on the defensive end,” he explained. “It gives me more time to work out if I don’t play, but I think I’ve had enough time already, knowing that I haven’t been playing in a long time. Just taking that time and getting my body together, it could definitely be big, but I’m going to come back whenever I’m ready.”